Nissan plans to start production in Myanmar with its Malaysian partner Tan Chong Motor as early as this year, reported the Nikkei.

The business daily reported last month Nissan had begun sales of new commercial vehicles in the country once called Burma.

Tan Chong will manufacture several thousand small passenger cars and pickup trucks a year. Nissan would be the largest carmaker to commence local production.

The automaker sees strong potential in Myanmar, a market almost fully closed until recently by huge import taxes and other regulations, which has become an importer of mainly used vehicles and has a very low percentage of car ownership - 2.36m units in a population of 63m (3.7%) - compared with established markets.

An affiliate of Tan Chong will build a plant to assemble vehicles from kits shipped from Nissan factories in southeast Asia and elsewhere.